The Return of the King, Book 6, Chapter 2: The Land of Shadow
Chapter synopsis: Sam and Frodo barely avoid being discovered and travel to the north for a few days. They are troubled by the lack of food and water, and the Ring is becoming an ever greater burden to Frodo. The plain below them is full of Sauron’s armies, and Frodo intends attempting to cross it where it is narrower. Hidden behind a bush, they hear a conversation between two orcs and discover that Gollum is still following them; one night Sam sees him nosing about, as well. While traveling upon the road, they are caught by an army of orcs. The army believes the hobbits to be orc-deserters, and forces them to join the company. Luckily, however, confusion and quarrelling break out among different orc-companies, and the hobbits succeed in slipping away unnoticed.
Congrats to the winners of the Big Spring Giveaway! Derrick, Margaret, and Doug won first, second, and third place respectively. For prizes, Derrick chose the Chronicles books, Margaret chose the Blu-rays and Alan Lee book, and Doug won the Sibley book.
The Orcs, uncharacteristically, kill each other, allowing Sam to blunder towards success.
The Return of the King, Book 6, Chapter 1: The Tower of Cirith Ungol
Chapter synopsis: Sam must find a way to get into the watch-tower on the pass, where Frodo has been taken. He hears sounds of fighting from the tower; apparently the two orc-companies are fighting over Frodo’s belongings. The main entrance to the Tower is guarded by the Two Watchers, horrible creatures like statues filled with great malice, that do not move yet seem to be aware of things around them. Sam holds up the Phial of Galadriel, and succeeds to run through the gate. Almost all the orcs were killed in the fighting; a small orc meets Sam on a stairway, but runs away in fear. Sam follows him, and listens to a conversation between the orc and Shagrat, who (though wounded) seems to have also survived the fight. The two orcs start to quarrel, and Snaga, the small orc, escapes; Shagrat runs out to get some help. Sam searches for Frodo and starts to sing; he hears a reply to his song, followed by Snaga’s voice. Frodo was kept in the topmost chamber, accessible only by a ladder through a trap-door. Sam goes up and attacks Snaga, who falls down the ladder and breaks his neck. Then Sam and Frodo prepare to depart; Sam brings some orc-gear for Frodo (whom the orcs stripped of everything). Using the Phial, they pass the Watchers again, but the creatures utter a horrible cry, replied by a Nazgul from the darkness above.
The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter 10: The Black Gate
Chapter synopsis: A host of the West marches to the Black Gate of Mordor and challenges Sauron to make amends for his evil deeds. “The Mouth of Sauron”, a dark and sinister man approaches the company and declares that a halfling-spy was captured (and shows Frodo’s gear) and demands that the Captains of the West yield to Sauron’s demands or the spy will be brutally tortured. Gandalf refuses, but takes Frodo’s items. The gates open and an army pours out, several times outnumbering the host of the West. In this last, desperate defence, Pippin slays a great hill-troll, but then falls unconscious himself.
“This teaser has a HEAVY emphasis on Elves, Elves, Elves! True, we had nothing but wall-to-wall Dwarves in the first film; and now the filmmakers are seemingly delighted to show us a rich, rewarding glimpse into another culture. Lee Pace’s Elvenking delivers fantastic narration (perhaps another reason we don’t hear Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice as the fire-drake) and his son Legolas brings all the Orly fans back into full Bloom. Quite EXCITING to see all those grand purple butterflies, the snout of Beorn bursting through, the barrel-riding escape on white-water rapids (with Elves chasing & shooting!), Dol Guldur revisited, and a last, lingering shot of *Smaug* turning that corner just like the Cave Troll did in the Chamber of Mazarbul…. Bard has an ominous line but I was also expecting at least one ominous line from no-show Galadriel. Overall a very successful teaser!”
There’s a new review of The Lord of the Films at amazon.com. Dartagnan gives it five stars and says, “I really enjoyed reading things that I did not realize about each of these great movies, it makes watching these movies even more enjoyable now. This book is very easy to read I will even read it again.”
The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter 9: The Last Debate
Chapter synopsis: Legolas and Gimli enter the Minas Tirith and visit Merry and Pippin in the Houses of Healing. They talk about the passing of the Paths of the Dead: how they rode for several days, and Aragorn called upon the shades of the Dead to fight for him, how they captured the fleet of Umbar in Pelargir, and how they sailed up the Anduin to join the battle of the Pelennor fields. Meanwhile there is a meeting of the captains: Gandalf, Aragorn, Prince Imrahil, Éomer, and the sons of Elrond. Gandalf presents his plan to ride towards the Black Gate of Mordor, as if to challenge battle with Sauron, such that he would empty Mordor and turn all his attention towards them; this would increase Frodo’s chances to reach Orodruin and destroy the Ring. For so long as the Ring still exists, Sauron’s strength is too great to be conquered in war.